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So I passed my recent exam and I'm studying for another. I've been using a different technique of drawing as people have seen, and I've mentioned, but I noticed the outlines looked a little...not sharp. So I made the image for the robot one with Thunderstick much bigger, and I think I got much finer lines.

This year has sped by and I thought last year was fast. With exams, works and assignments and whatnot, the year went all too fast. It doesn't feel like a year, really.

Since I'm working on Lifeforce mostly, I'm afraid any new (and perhaps more interesting fanfics) are on a stand still, though I doubt people on this site will mind. Just a quick journal on what's going on, and to inform that since Christmas is approaching less stuff will be going up.

I did my firest Request not long ago, apparently it worked out well. 

:iconlaplz: 

:iconidontthinksobetchplz:

:iconthefonzplz: :icongoofygrinplz:

Ratchet and Clank Stamp by Ben-Anderson
.:Ratchet and Clank stamp 4:. by dannyphantom300
Land before time stamp by Sony-ShockStamp: Bravestarr by Gatekat Cragmite OC Support by WolfzenStamp - Dallas and Juanita by Lurking-Leanne
Cragmite Empire Stamp by HlTLER
Aaaahhh What by MiharuWatanabeI love ReBoot by thebadkittyCrash Bandicoot stamp by RobinBaxterButt


Dr. N. Tropy Stamp by xSweetSlayerxSly 4 stamp~ The Ancestors by SeeraphineClassic Spyro Stamp by RadSpyroN.Brio Stamp by angelblood

Lifeforce Chapter 37

"Roads I've travelled I must leave, for I've turned the final bend. Weep not empty tears, but grieve...as the road comes to an end."

- Return of the King, 1980

A Living Shield

Ickabar's legs ached with pain as he ran. He led the way, knowing where he wanted to go. It was not a space station, or a port, or anywhere a ship could lead them to safety. There was no way out of this; the planet's sky was choked with smoke and he knew the cragmite wasn't stupid. Any survivors trying to fly out of the planet's atmosphere would be killed before they made it past the clouds. Hiding here wouldn't work, either. As big as the planet was, the barren landscape outside the crumbled city left no hiding place.

The suited fish where getting closer. Fergus and Leo took up the rear of the almost single-file they ran in, and the two threw back whatever they could. Duck's yelps sounded behind him, but Ickabar could not look back more than once. He was fine, stumbling, shivering, but all right. He held his daughter closer, her wails threatening to break into shrieks, her little fists curled into balls. Ickabar hated himself for what he had to do, what he planned. How could he possibly explain to the others, when he couldn't explain it to himself?

He skidded around a corner, narrowly avoiding a sharp rod sticking out of the rubble. He saw a mound ahead, like a little mountain bridging the height between the road and the suspended remains of a highway. He halted, panting, staring up at it.

Fergus lunged at the nearest attacker that grew near, his wrench crashing against its tank. He whipped his head around to look at Ickabar's gaping face, his braid swinging. "Go!"

Ickabar heaved himself up with one arm, toppling onto his knees for a second before continuing. The creatures below paid him little notice, going for the two attacking lombaxes below as Duck struggled to follow him. Ickabar turned and seized his arm, dragging him up, a pang of guilt filling him as he realized this was the first time he'd come to help the stumbling boy since the hug he gave him a day before.

He turned, though, and continued up the highway. He could see his destination, near the place he'd been when the attack started. The shipping docks. Not a space port and without any transport big enough for all of them, not even himself.

Fergus hit the creature one last time before turning on his heel, sprinting for the slope. He clambered up, Leo behind him. He gritted his teeth and lifted himself, his wrench heavy in his arm –

A searing pain and soft, but audible crack made him slip. His upper thigh had been hit, his flesh burning. He hissed, smashing his jaw shut to stop himself yelping like a wounded animal. He knew a bone had been damaged, he'd heard it crack.

Damn it.

Leo was up before him and grabbed onto his shoulders, heaving him up. "Fergus?!"

Ickabar turned his head, Duck bumping into his back. He saw Fergus stooped over, on one knee, his other adorned with a small red gash. He knew it was worse. Fergus stood, hands clenched, but his leg had the faints limp. Knowing Fergus he was ignoring the pain to the limit. He bucked Leo off as he tried to help him.

"Hold off the bloody fish if you want to help..." He growled as he caught up with Ickabar and Duck. Ickabar's heart was beating in his head, pounding loud and heavy. He looked back at the other three, still, holding his daughter with both shivering arms.

The road they'd climbed was hit by a blast. Leo had been a second away from it, and was tossed forward as a bright green spark hit the metal and made it crumble. Ickabar's thoughts evaporated and he stumbled up the highway again, Duck after him, Fergus limping furiously along. He glanced back and saw more of them coming from the west, and more from the east. Fish creatures piling in like rats coming after freshly dropped food, seeping out of the shadows of the buildings.

The road was winding, upwards to the export area. Ickabar could barely breathe but he kept going. The creatures began firing bright red plasma at the heels of the lombaxes, and Ickabar could see the light bouncing off the walls.

"Go on ahead!" Fergus called, low and stiff, as he drew to a slower pace. Duck stayed, blinking uncertainly, lifting a rock to toss back at them. He didn't know the plan, but of course Fergus guessed it.

Leo leaped onto the closest of them, hitting at their arms and legs, teeth barred. Fergus snatched up a dropped weapon with barely any ammo and aimed it, shooting. Ickabar ran, in near darkness in the shadow of the rubble.

Ratchet was running. The light bobbed ahead, solemnly dim, but clearer than he'd seen it before. His breath was almost painfully to draw into his exhausted lungs. He felt as though he was following Ickabar, now, but he had no idea whose perspective he saw these visions from now. At one point he'd been Ickabar, another he'd seen the back of his purple ears, ahead of him.

Ratchet breathed in and turned the corner, his chest pounding with apprehension. Almost panic. He turned his head left and saw the light again, and moved after it in a swift bolt.

Ickabar tripped again, the stiff wound in his leg coming back to haunt him, but he ignored its cry and stood. He burst out of the rubble-filled street and into open air, moving to the double doors of the export warehouse. It was small, and square.

He hit his good shoulder against the door and it swung open. There he was what he'd come for. A small export vessel, designed to take small cargo, however fragile, even small pets or plants, across space. Not usually used. And not usually seen.

Ickabar lifted his daughter and settled her into the pod, stuffing an old sheet under her to make it more comfortable. Tenahee squirmed, whimpering nervously. He leaned against the very thing that housed his child, panting; staring down at her as reality came crashing down. She looked up at him, wide-eyed, having no idea. No idea at all.

He set the co-ordinates, his mind blank. He knew the place and the people, their faces a blur. He would never see his friends outside of Fastoon again. They would never know what happened to him, and perhaps that was a blessing. Ignorance is bliss.

It was done. All he had to do was pull the lever and she'd be sent away. A tiny vassal, undetected. He'd left a text telling those in the Asteroid Base what to do. She would not stay in this galaxy. She had to go far away where lombaxes and cragmites where alien, and where the cragmite would not be able to find her.

Tenahee reached up for him, her face crumbling. His heart pulling, he leaned down, his forehead touching hers, so soft and tiny. He lifted his hand to stroke her cheek. Tenahee's whimpers faded into silence. His eyes watered.

"Tenahee, my darling." He whispered. "I love you more than life itself. I wish you could understand. I wish you could forgive me."

He would send her away into an alien galaxy where people knew nothing of their plight, and had no sympathy for her among thousands of other orphans. No mother, no brothers, and no father. He had no idea what life she would have, but preyed his friends would find her a good one. Far away, where this tragedy was merely a faraway story.

And where he was just a ghost of a memory. Ickabar looked at her face, so much like Jana's, but her eyes like his. So pale and lost and sad. Would she remember him? Of course not. And that hurt more than anything. How she wouldn't know how much he loved her, and what he was doing for her. How much it hurt to lose her forever.

But he had to. He would lose her, but she wouldn't lose her life. She would lose him.

Her little hand had curled around his finger, and he kissed her forehead. The baby's eyelids drooped, her mouth opening in a small yawn before she drifted off. Ickabar slowly, slowly lifted his hand away, her fingers slipping away from his. The last time he would ever hold her.

He closed the pod, and staring through the glass he forced his hand to move. He couldn't move, tears frozen in his eyes, before he finally pulled the lever.

The pod soured upwards, a little blur, lifting high into the air. He stared upwards to the sky as it lifted through the hatch in the ceiling and away from his sight. He stood like that until his eyes blurred over.

The last part of his future that he knew of had gone by. Ickabar's head lowered and his head drooped down to his chest.

Behind him the others burst in, slamming the double doors shut behind them. Leo jammed a broken pipe between the handles to keep it shut. The creatures on the other side hammered against it, loud and heavy. It wouldn't be long.

Ickabar did not turn his back, his eyes sliding shut. Each slam felt like a clock tick. Duck's voice, small and unknowing, called out to him.

"What do we do now...? Where's..."

Ickabar did not explain. Leo and Fergus where looking at him, panting. He could feel their eyes on him, Leo disbelieving, Fergus's unreadable. Slowly he turned his head, and only opened them upon knowing that Fergus was looking back. Knowing. In a way, it made the world bearable, if not just a little.

"What do we do...?"

Ickabar turned at last to look at Daveed, the boy's chest heaving with terror, his dark eyes wide and fearful. Ickabar felt his face crumble and he swallowed. He lifted his hand, reaching, his palm upturned towards him. Duck stared back at him, fearful, but Ickabar could see in his face he was finally beginning to realize that it wouldn't work out like he prayed.

With a small, inaudible sob, Duck reached out and curled his fingers around his. Leo's hand found his next, holding the boy's tight, a solemn look upon his hard-jawed face. He met Ickabar's eyes for a moment.

The purple lombax's head slid to the side, to Fergus. The braided lombax, his eyes locked and steady, reached out to him. He gripped Ickabar's wrist, and he gripped his. Ickabar's mind flooded with things he wanted to say. So many thank-yous, so many things he'd left unattended. Flashes of the gravesides, of the days Fergus sat with alcohol in his hand and Ickabar tugged it away. The nights they spent staring at the sky, talking of things of little importance. Fergus was his best friend. His family meant the world to him but in a different way.

He couldn't say anything because he wanted so desperately to say everything. He hoped Fergus knew just how thankful he was.

Fergus simply nodded once and the doors shattered. They broke away from each other, and leaped at their attackers. Fergus and Leo first, Ickabar snatching up the very pipe that had blocked the door. Daveed lifted rubble and tossed it at them; and they tore through the front of the group of creatures that tried to trap them inside.

All that mattered now was fighting back.

Ickabar slid underneath the arm that swung to hit him, smacking the pipe against the thick glass of the tank. The more creatures that came onto the road, the more it became to crumble. Ickabar could feel it stirring beneath him and his eyes widened.

"Look out!"

The road cracked, and slid to an almost vertical side. Ickabar's feet where tripped from underneath him and he slid down the metal plate. The fish creatures had been taken by surprise, skidding down like broken action figures. Some clung into the road still, and lifted their weapons as the lombaxes slid, yelling, right towards them.

Ickabar, his heart leaping, swung down the pipe in his hand to block the sharp blade the creature swung at him. He slid under it, only for another to shoot a plasma blast his way. He leaped, kicking off the road, and soured right over it before toppling back onto the crazed slide once more. The bottom came into sight; all the way down to the dirt-roads against, where there were little buildings left tall for cover. His blood rushing, Ickabar turned his head quickly to look over his shoulder. Daveed had remarkably avoided the creatures, Leo hitting one aside as he slid with his wrench. Fergus had no time for such skill; as he slid down towards a waiting drophid he kicked out his good leg and dove his boot right into the glass, knocking the creature clean off the slope.

Ickabar jerked his head forward again, and braced himself for the impact at the bottom. He screwed his eyes shut as the momentum of the slide tossed him though the air. He rolled across the ground, his arms swinging. He landed on his stomach, his lungs full of dust.

He lay there for seconds before tearing up again, the rush in his blood giving him a burst of energy. Duck toppled in behind him, Leo and Fergus next. Fergus struggled to his feet, Ickabar seizing his shoulder to try and help them.

They tore across the flat, dirt landscape riddled with charred, spiked remains of ships. A no-man's land, eerily like those he saw only in holofilms, but all too real now. A screech of a ship above them made them stop and the four looked above; five or so suits of armoured orange fish had leaped from the ship riding over their heads to land a few meters away.

Behind them the remaining group that had chased them before was getting closer. Ickabar saw with a swift turn of the head that they were trying to surround them on the flat battlefield. They were closing in.

The four stood, back to back. Duck had grabbed a forgotten wrench from the ground, Ickabar holding the heavy pipe still.

"Don't let them surround us. Spread out." Leo muttered lowly, eyeing their surroundings. Ickabar heard Fergus speak next.

"One by one. Don't let them overwhelm you."

They waited; a minute, a minute and a half – and then they tore off in four separate directions towards their attackers. They screeched in retort, lifting their weapons to counter. Ickabar swung his pipe, hitting the glass, then the arm, before leaping back to avoid the punch it swung. He dove under its legs, kicking it from behind. He watched it fall and slammed the pipe down on the tank, breathing in once before lunging at the next. It shot at him as he came, but he swerved, avoiding it, thanking the heavens for his years as a fast, skinny runner for once.

Fergus, his leg still screaming and swelling, focused on breaking off the robotic arm of the one he attacked. It shot at him, the plasma burning at his shirt, but missing with each dodge. He slammed his wrench down on its arm once more, finally tearing it away. He seized the creature's own blaster and shot it full-on in the face, before turning to the next.

Ickabar tore his wrench out of the broken glass of the third fallen enemy, panting. He lifted his head and saw Fergus fighting, Leo dodging, Duck slipping in and out between them. His gripped the pipe, tighter, breathing in and out. For a few seconds none of the creatures where near him.

He did not see the drophid meters behind him.

Fergus lifted his head, seeing the brown blur behind, toting its weapon at his back.

Duck's voice caught in his chest and his eyes bulged.

The fur on Ickabar's neck stood on end, and he felt something pull at him. He raised his head, slowly, feeling his own eyes widen.

The drophid aimed.

Duck's voice tore through the air in a horrible scream.

"ICKABAR!"

The blast tore through the air. Ickabar felt something tear and burn in his chest, and soar from it, right through him. His body stilled. His chest burned, and he felt dampness in his fur and shirt. His mind had frozen, blank and empty. He looked down, his hand numbly lifting to the hole in his chest, touching the blood. It riddled his fingers, seeping down his torso to the ground.

He stared at his hand, then past it; the bloody fingers blurring as he saw Fergus's horrified face, all of their horrified faces. Crashes sounded next as Fergus took down the one that had shot him, ending it. All of the creatures lay gone. Ickabar felt...nothing. His mind felt oddly light, his legs did not feel numb, just empty.

Ickabar saw Duck, looking at him, heartbroken, who was whispering 'Oh my god' again and again. Around him the world blurred and his legs finally gave away. He was falling, the air rushing in his ears.

Someone caught him. Firm, but shaking arms. Furless. He knew the arms and hugs of all his friends. Someone else had caught him, running in from the side. Ickabar opened his eyes, barely noticing that they had fluttered shut.

He could see the sky. And against that sky he was a hairless face, green, with large brown eyes filled with deep sorrow that made his heart twinge...with recognition. He knew this face, and his lips twitched upwards.

"Raymas..."

Raymas was back. Holding him, on his knees, his large browns watered. He'd never seen him cry before. Raymas's hand came to his face, his head tilted against his chest. Ickabar couldn't remember the last time he'd seen him. And now, as his body slowly lost feeling, he was so glad. So glad he could have laughed if he had the strength...

"Icky...I'm so sorry..."

It was a whisper.

"You came back..." He murmured, looking up at him, almost in wonder. Leo's face came into view, staring down at him, Duck's next. So lost and hurt, Duck shaking as tears spilled down his face. Ickabar looked at them, his smile fading just a little.

He looked to the left. Fergus was moving towards him, eyes wide, no frowning. Ickabar lifted his hand, cold and stiff, and Fergus held it with both of his. His eyes so wide. "Fergus..."

Fergus was on the other side of him now, Raymas on his right, his arms around him. Ickabar looked up at the braided lombax, and sadness seeped into his numb mind. He stared straight into his eyes. It hurt to leave Fergus behind, so badly. He held his hand tight, and shook his head the best he could.

"Don't...don't cry for me, Fergus..." He managed to say. He meant it. "I...I'm happy. I'll see them again."

Fergus's face twisted and he made an odd sound, a croak in his throat, no words. Ickabar felt something splash onto his cheek, and turned his head. It felt so heavy.

Raymas was crying. His tears fell onto his own face like rain. Ickabar lifted his free hand with all the strength he had left. His fingers found his brother's face. His hand on his cheek like he used to when he was so small. "Raymas..."

Raymas looked at him, lost. Ickabar smiled faintly. "...I'm Glad...you came back..."

He felt his brother's grip on him tighten. Duck's voice came to him then, almost as if calling from miles away.

"Don't go!"

Ickabar looked at them. All of them, their faces looking back at him from above against the pale sky. The sky was lighter, a very light grey. Almost white, and to him, shining from above. Lighting up their faces. The people he loved. Beyond the paleness beyond the living people he loved, he could almost see the faces of those he'd lost. Jana and Percy staring back at him. Waiting.

His eyes fell on Duck. "I...love you all. Don't...don't forget."

His eyes moved across all of their faces. Leo, Raymas. And Fergus.

I'm sorry I had to leave you, too, Fergus. But I meant it...I'm...at peace...

The weight he'd felt had lifted from him, and he could feel the pain seeping away. "I'm...so happy...to be have been... w-with you all..."

Their faces blurred, and the sky above spread across the outlines of their figures. They floated away, fading like ink washed away by water as the light grew, and he lost feeling in his body. He slipped away, with fading memories of his earliest days being the last that he knew, pale eyes staring up at the sky.

...

Ratchet stood at the top of the hill. The hanging branches brushed past him, moving against his shoulders. Before him lay the last grave, the third grave. Covered by moss and plants that adorned the rock; the pebbles covering the ground before the headstone. Ratchet stared at the letters, feeling something swell inside him.

Ickabar Locksher.

Ickabar was dead.

He knew. He'd understood this was probably what happened from the beginning. But he couldn't prepare himself for it, or stop himself hoping that maybe somehow, in some way, he'd survived against all odds. But not this time. Ratchet felt the lump inside his throat melt, and the heaviness that had followed him across Fastoon fall upon him. He fell to his knees, breaking into sobs, covering his face with his hands.

Ratchet wept, for him, for his son, for his father and mother. For Alister, and for everyone. All his people, who died here. Ratchet cried for Ickabar, killed by the person he'd once loved so much.

He did not stop nor did he try to console himself. He'd never felt such agony, not even in his youth when he'd been all alone. He knew loneliness now, all the people he could have know if it hadn't happened. His parents, their friends.

But it would never be. And even though he could not change it, he let the pain finally have its way on him. Ratchet sobbed upon the hilltop, in the dying sunlight.

...

Ickabar ran across the golden sand, the child's laughter echoing through the air and across the winding roads. His face alight in a smile, eyes shining in the sun as he looked back at the two walking behind him. He danced ahead, calling for his brothers to follow, laughing as he turned the corner, and vanished from their sight.

Lifeforce Chapter 36

"Every morning, I wake up and forget just for a second that it happened. But once my eyes open, it buries me like a landslide of sharp, sad rocks. Once my eyes open, I'm heavy, like there's too much gravity on my heart."
Sarah Ockler,Twenty Boy Summer

The Bloody Star

When Ratchet finally made it away from the ashen-coated wasteland, he found himself on what used to be a road again. Buildings half-standing poking out of the rubble but not high enough to block his view of the dimly lit sky. The amber lombax felt his stomach tighten when he spotted the hilltop again, seeing it now from another angle. It looked far less golden and pretty.

He stopped. He knew he couldn't stall it any longer, but told himself that this was truly the last time he'd stop before getting to the top. Just get it over with. He breathed in, and out, though it usually failed in helping most days.

Ratchet walked towards the hill, his heart slowly beginning to beat faster.

...

They had waded through the collapsed city for what felt like an eternity. Ickabar was sure a day at least had to have passed; the sky was neither dark nor light so it as hard to tell. They walked in single file; him at the front, Fergus behind; Leo and Duck a little closer together behind them, both trying to avoid what they saw on the ground. Fergus and Ickabar where beyond caring about where they stepped now. Ickabar felt an emptiness that seemed to take up his whole body; he tried to remember what he was doing and memories that usually calmed him in times of sadness. But what he felt now was no sadness. His body wouldn't let him feel just in case the blows got worse.

Just in case.

Someone passed him, slowly trekking up a slope; whether it was made by sand, dirt or debris he did not know. It blocked their way. He was so close yet it still felt like miles; he could see the treetop of the trunk that sat on the hill peering at him just over the tip of the mound. Leo stood at the top a moment later, having passed Fergus. Fergus seemed to have slowed down just like Ickabar did.

"Icky..."

Leo raised a hand, pointing. His body was pivoted to the side, toes facing forward but his head looking back at him as his hand gestured ahead of him. Ickabar felt helpless as his legs moved him up the slope to join him. He didn't want to look. Leo's face was latched in disbelief and vacant horror. It hadn't sunk in. It must be too big to sink in.

At the top of the slope, Ickabar couldn't look away or shield himself. His heart leaped and sank all at once. The neighbourhood he'd lived in for years was barren and demolished. Bars and outlines, like rusted scaffolding, where all that remained of some of the houses. The road was ironically bare of any rubble; it was all around them that gnarled shapes littered. The bodies where there, but Ickabar could barely distinguish their filthy forms from the rubble anymore. The neighbourhood was charred to black, and the sky was tinted red with the sunset or sunrise.

And there he saw his home, standing almost untouched on the sloping road nearby the hill, where his children would look out the windows and mimic the 'whoosh' sound the grass made when the wind brushed over the field. Ickabar stared at it for moments, then took off, running towards it. He heard Fergus call out behind him to wait, but he barely registered it.

He arrived in a blur; moving over the distance between his front door and the dune top in what felt like a second. And yet something stopped him from going in. He saw the ash and rubble coating the sides of his home; the door was ajar and inside the lights where off. Dark. A breeze floated out to his face.

Ickabar's shaking arm reached and he gripped the side of the door, and forced it open. It creaked mournfully as he pushed it aside and stumbled in. He was on the landing. Standing there, panting and doused in a cold sweat, Ickabar felt more alien than he ever had. It was so quiet, and so empty. He couldn't see his wife.

Despair prickled at his eyes and his heart was pulling. Desperate, he stumbled into the living room, past the couches. They couldn't not be here. They had to be here.

"Percy!? Jan?!" His voice came out in a croak. He called again, louder, and listened. No sound came from upstairs.

He turned his head, and Ickabar saw broken bricks sitting near the kitchen. Like breadcrumbs, they where dotted just outside it. An odd light was cast from around the corner, not daylight or fire. Ickabar's fur bristled at the chill of the air coming from it.

The world was muted. Ickabar walked to the vacant doorway to the kitchen, and there he stood. There the wall was demolished and the curtains flapped, torn, in a wind he could not feel. The floor littered with rubble, and among it, lying in a pool of broken metal and rock, lay his beautiful wife.

Ickabar's legs gave way beneath him and he fell against the wall. He opened his mouth but he couldn't scream. Her face was so still, her eyelids closed, her thick curly hair drawn out around her like sunlight. He didn't need to see how still she was or the blood on her sky-blue clothes, to know that she was dead.

His arms wrapped around her and he held her to his chest as red-hot tears swam down his cheeks and onto his chin. The pain engulfed him and the emptiness that had held him firm through it all shattered and melted. He could no longer tell himself that it wasn't true.

You're my world, Jan. I can't live without you. I love you. I love you...

"Jana..." He wept, his body curling over. He didn't hold back the sobs or the tears. He couldn't stop crying and he did not try. His wife was gone. Jana was gone. His hand drew through her golden hair to her face. He remembered her eyes and how they lit him up as they danced, her smile and her toothy grin. Her anger and her sadness. All gone, to somewhere or nowhere at all. Somewhere he could not follow.

A sob caught in his throat and he lifted his head, eyes blurred by the tears. His mind swirled. Jan was gone. But then, in the midst of his despair, just as he thought he'd cry forever, something wriggled against his stomach, a small whimper waking him up.

He looked down. There, encased in an embrace still firm even after death, was a little pale gold bundle. In Jana's arms was his baby girl, unharmed, alive, and shielded by the blast by her mother's body and soul. She opened her tiny mouth and let out a shriek that tore at him. But she was alive. Loud, alive, her little hands curled into fists against her chest.

Ickabar, his body numb, felt his arms slip away from his wife, the pieces of his heart breaking even more as he had to let her go. His hands wrapped around his daughter, his palm lifting her head, the other on her back, so small but so warm. He stared down at her, her eyes screwed shut as she wailed and wriggled, and held her to his chest. His body rocked back and forth as he held her, the tears coming again, quieter. They died away.

He heard voices calling to him. He barely recognised him, but his body must have, for his legs lifted him up and Ickabar walked out of the kitchen, to the door, and out into the open. The purple lombax moved slowly, his mind in a haze. It swirled between his daughter, alive, and Jana, lying there, or dancing in the disco-light, or smiling at him in the morning when he first opened his eyes.

Fergus and Leo stood, watching him, their eyes wide as they feared the worst. Ickabar looked at Fergus, vacantly. Leo swallowed.

"Jan...?"

Ickabar's heart pulled and he ducked his head, holding his sobbing baby closer to his face like a child clinging to a teddy bear.

Leo's choked voice murmured. "Oh, Ick – I'm so, so sorry..."

"Where's Percy?!"

Duck's voice, aghast and exhausted, called out suddenly from a few yards away. Ickabar's eyes opened and his brain began functioning again. The agony he felt was replaced again by the worry, the horror, and the desperation. Where was Percy? Raym gone, his daughter in his arms. Where was...?

He couldn't move. For a few seconds, he stood, his breaths heaving. Then he thrust his daughter into Duck's arms and ran into the house, stumbling up the stairs. Leo ran up the road, looking in the rubble, near the other houses, their voices all calling for Percy.

Fergus had gone around the back, then further downhill. Around a corner. His face in a frown, but his fists curled so light his fingernails dug right into the rough flesh. He turned his head, looking left and right, but saw no sign of the purple child.

"Percy?!" He yelled, again, and listened. Nothing came to him. He walked on, around the roads created by piles of rubble alone. As he turned the corner, he saw the bar-like remains of a house, collapsed, some still standing up and tangled in with fences. Charred fences, moulded together. Fergus continued walking to the thin, tangled rods that blocked his path.

He saw something hanging from them like a decoration, but his mind didn't notice it. He got closer. Fergus felt something inside him go cold. His body and mind turning to stone as he realized what it could be.

Fergus stopped at last. His knees didn't buckle. He was trapped in his still, unresponsive body as he looked closely, trying to deny it, trying to reason it away. But he couldn't.

Hanging by severed strings, tangled and stained in blood was a little star-shaped locket, turning from side to side where it hung, silent.

...

Ickabar had come out of the house when he returned. His head was twisting in every direction, his pale eyes wide and almost mad with grief. He saw Fergus walking towards him, his fists clenched, his shoulders stiff. Fergus passed Duck, clutching the baby in his arms, and he didn't look at Leo as he ran back to meet him.

It was just Ickabar and Fergus, facing each other. Fergus's eyes were glazed over, and like a robot with no emotion he lifted his arm, his face twisting as his fingers peeled away. Ickabar looked down at his palm, and saw the bloodied little locket.

His world ended, and his heart shattered into nothingness. He cried out, a strangled wail of agony as he fell to his knees. His cry lifted across the field. Duck's weeping did not reach him, or Fergus's silent streaming tears, or Leo's quiet sobs.

All there was in existence was him, and the pain, killing him inside. Ickabar wished for death, for he could not take it.

His son was dead. His son.

...

They had lit a fire. They did not know why. In a silence too heavy to lift, Leo and Fergus dug the graves. One would be empty, with only a few trinkets to embrace the soil. They had not found the body. They searched and found only red stains, too much for someone so small to survive from loosing. Daveed held the baby, weeping too quietly to be heard. The others could not cry, for they had cried all that they could. Hurt all they could. The far future was not on their minds, for whatever future it was, it held nothing for them.

They dug the graves on the hilltop; the hanging branches brushing against their backs. Then the two went back towards the house, wading through the trodden, scorched grass. They waited.

From the darkened doorway Ickabar emerged, his back straight and his eyes ahead, emptier than they had ever seen them. In his arms he carried his wife, her head against his chest, wrapped in a sheet that was not as white as it should have been. Ickabar stopped beside Fergus as the two parted to let him through, but as Fergus watched the side of his face, he did not turn to look at him. His pupils remained ahead, yet Fergus felt he was watching him back, maybe. In a hollow, barely registering part of his mind he knew he was here with him.

He began walking again. Walking after him was the hard part, up the hill he did not waver. There was nothing to dread, nothing to try and stall or avoid anymore.

Ickabar reached the grave that had been dug for his wife. Slowly, he knelt as they caught up with him. He set her beside him, not lowering her down yet. Ickabar looked at her face, his face set in a blank stare that glazed over and watery. His hand hovered by her cheek, as if hesitant to touch her, then rested against it. His body tensed and he gave an inward sob, choked...then went still again. Unable to cry because he simply could cry no more.

They lowered her into the grave, wrapped in white. Ickabar stood, his legs shaking, his hand hovering over the shovel now as he stared at the limp form below. What was left of his coherent thoughts tried to tell him that it was no longer his wife, she was gone elsewhere, and that he had to do this. His fingers gripped the shovel at last, and broken he helped his friends fill in the grave once more.

It was sunset, he knew now, when he placed the last small rock upon the graves. Decorated like garden pebbles, neat and simple rectangles draped out like red carpets ahead of the gravestones. Carved by Leo from fallen walls, using tools from abandoned basements. Leo had written their names but Ickabar couldn't bear to look at them, but stared at the stones instead. All he could think about was how he wanted to hold them again, just one more time, his wife and his son. His little son, who probably hadn't understood any of it. He hadn't been with him when he died.

Ickabar did not get to say goodbye.

They others took shelter at the bottom of the hill as night fell. Ickabar remained at the hilltop. He knew this place. He'd lie here when he was young with the people he loved. Now the people he loved would lie here forever.

And Ickabar knelt there, neither awake nor asleep, through the darkness.

Fergus came up the hill when morning broke. Ickabar barely noticed time had passed, but was now standing, looking down at the graves with the same vacancy of before. Looking like he was being pulled down by gravity that wished for him to lie as well.

Fergus came to a stop beside him. What could the possible say? Nothing. If he did he felt like he would fall apart. It was like being frozen solid, only on the inside and in the mind. You can't do anything but move your useless body around doing nothing.

"I loved them more than anything in the world, Fergus." Ickabar said, his voice blank. "...But I couldn't protect them."

The self-loathing hardened his last words just a little. But it faded away, leaving him empty once more. Fergus swallowed, watching the graves, unable to look at his best friend.

He had to be truthful.

"Tenahee still needs you. She's still here, and you're still here. She needs you to live, Ickabar. Do it for her." While you still have the chance.

The baby, as if hearing her name, or somehow knowing, began crying at the bottom of the hill. Loud, unhappy, frightened. Ickabar blinked, as if waking from a daze. His ears twitched and his eyebrows lifted. He turned his head and looked down hill.

The purple lombax stumbled back to his daughter wordlessly. Duck held her out with no hesitant and he took her into his own arms, holding her tight against his chest. She wriggled unhappily before clinging to his chin and his shirt with either hand, her cries falling to quiet whimpers. Ickabar held her so her little cheek rubbed against his; so soft and warm, it breathed what life he still had back into his body.

Fergus was right as he always was when he needed to be. Tenahee was still here, in his arms. He knew the future now. She would live, and be happy, even if he himself never saw that future.

"Look out!"

Leo's voice was punctuated by a splitting crash. Tearing through the rubble of the nearby houses, a squad leered at them, beginning their fire on their newly spotted targets. Leo waved an arm, running along another path away from them. Duck followed, stumbling.

"C'mon, we have to go!" Leo yelled back. Fergus took one step back, then another, scowling as he finally turned and fled after him.

Ickabar looked up at the hilltop one last time, before he too turned and fled with his daughter clutched to his chest.

...

Ratchet stumbled and fell to his knees, his breaths laboured and coated with sweat. He did not feel sick, he felt horribly clear. Every thought that ran through his brain felt sharp and precise.

How could he?

Ickabar's son. Percival Locksher was...

Ratchet lifted his hands to his face, pressing his eyelids as if to try and stop tears prickling, but instead his eyeballs felt as dry as sandpaper. As if they had been wide open for too long. It hurt so badly and he didn't even know them. Thousands of children must have perished here, scared and alone, without mercy. How he'd been able to look at Tachyon without feeling like vomiting he'd never know.

But he hadn't known. Ratchet found it disturbing now, how the number had become a statistic, something that made him angry. He'd heard once that it was impossible for the mind to think of every single person that lost someone, and all the different ways they took it. But now that he'd seen one it was enough.

He hadn't just seen it. Ratchet knew that he'd felt Ickabar being torn in two inside. It was a vaguely familiar feeling...only for Ickabar it was far, far worse.

How could Tachyon do it?

He's a soulless monster. He did it and he did it with pride, just like my father. What was it, great pleasure, he said...?

His fingers dug right into his palms as he thought about it. If he hadn't been wearing gloves...

A small light swooped past his line of vision. Ratchet stared stupidly at his hands for a few seconds before his neck finally moved. There it was, hovering a few feet away from him, small and bobbing like a firefly tinted blue.

Ratchet stood up slowly. So much for not stopping again. "So uh...Do I follow you?"

It sped off as soon as the words where out. To the roads again, not to the hill. Ratchet had no time to frustrate over the delay, he tore after it, turning through winded roads created by stiff rusted rubble, never seeing the end of any direction he took. He skidded around another corner, his heart beginning to pound with effort. No food, restless sleep, all of it was taking its toll.

But he still ran. I can do this. I won't lose this mission, this battle. I won all the other times the odds seemed impossible. I have to. It can't end with me getting lost here.

He turned the corner and flew right into a web of old cables.

"Gah!"

He lifted his arms in reflex, and crashed through them. The cables ripped, letting him through, but as soon as he lifted his arms away from his vision, that very vision changed.

Ickabar stumbled over the metal scattered at his feet, doing his best to avoid the sharp points as he narrowly dodged a plasma blast. It hit the wall to his left, melting the deep metal right to the floor. He forced his legs into another boost, near leaping. Fergus was behind him, Leo, too, Duck just at his heels. He was ahead, the furthest away from the pursuers. Suits, and one of those tall four-legged machines with one of the orange fish at its dome, shooting lasers at them like a rifle to geese.

Ickabar saw a mound ahead. Panic stabbed at his mind. That would slow them down, they'd be easy targets –

Fergus had scooped up various things lying on the ground. He was fiddled with them, dragging a cable around a cylinder container, teeth gritted – Leo saw what he was doing and his eyes bulged.

"Move!" He pushed Duck up the slope, and the clambered up as Fergus turned on his heel and tossed the small contraption.

The explosion rattled the ground. The suits at the front fell, and the large mech almost toppled but it wasn't enough to tip it. It was, however, enough to give them the time they needed to scramble uphill. Fastoon's bumpy landscape became both a hindrance and a blessing at different points.

Ickabar made it to the top, Tenahee wailing quietly in his arm. Too tired to scream at this point. Ickabar found himself on a road, still standing strong. Which way?

His mind worked slowly. He knew this road. Ickabar knew what his destination was. What he had to do.

He wrapped both arms around his baby and stifled a sob, turning left and running. The others followed him blindly. He didn't know how this would end for them or himself. But his daughter was going to live, even if it was without him.

They ran. Fergus looked back over his shoulder and saw the suited fish having trouble with the slope. They would lose them for now, but it wouldn't be long. The cragmite wanted all lombaxes gone. None would be left alive. Scowling, he went after the others.

...

They collapsed in a vacant building, barely standing. Maybe it wasn't even a building, just some odd formation that happened to fall into place to create a roof and some walls. Low-roofed. They where bugs hiding beneath pavements.

Ickabar was just at the entrance, looking out onto the city. Here everything was still and quiet. No fires, no falling rubble, and for now no suited fish trying to end their lives. Tenahee was curled in his arms, whimpering softly, but no longer crying.

Ickabar's finger absently stroked her cheek as he looked out at what little he could see of the area around them. Duck was on his stomach, panting. They had minutes to rest.

Fergus eyed him. He swallowed, not out of nervousness, but to dampen his dry throat. "...This world is over." He remarked quietly. "There's not much to look at."

Ickabar remained quiet for a moment, and did not turn his head. "...There's everything to look at. This was what we were."

Although they did not allow you to be 'we' to us, once. Fergus, in the depths of his mind, wondered if things had gone different, where Ickabar would be. Ickabar had every reason to hate them irrationally like the cragmite did. Not to the same level...

If the cragmite had asked for him to come with him, would he have gone?

Tenahee yawned softly in her father's arms. Looking at her, Fergus couldn't imagine it. The cragmite would never ask. Ickabar was a lombax. That was the only thing that mattered about him to the cragmite now.

"I dreamed of leaving this place, Fergus, so many years ago." Ickabar murmured, turning his head a little. His voice was quiet and soft. "...But now I wish I could have seen it remain as it had, forever."

"...It's the end of Fastoon. What this planet...what we had can never be again." Undefeated Lombaxes, the saviours of the universe. Technology and cities ahead of all others. Tarnished forever in memory.

Ickabar sadly looked at Fergus, then at the city once more.

"I'm glad to be with you, Fergus... at the end of us."

Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 36

This chapter was both easy and hard to right, at different points. I got it done. I warn that mentions of violence and gruesome imagery are ahead. It not the end, but I have a good idea that the next chapter will be the nail in the coffin for this arc. I hope that isn't a false promise like all the other times I've said it.

Thanks in advance for reading this, for over a year, folks. Hopefully the next arcs will come swifter and easier.

It was heartbreaking to write. 
Next:

Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 37

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Bushy (Updated Profile) by What-if-Writer
Bushy (Updated Profile)
I did not draw those ears right.

So this is my first attempt at Kilenko the Kaleesh; here he's a teenager. He does have bushy hair and yes, he has a larger tooth on one side of his mouth. Its actually a little bigger than that; I'm still working out how to draw him. His profile can be found in my gallery, but its a little outdated, so I've written a new one:

Kilenko Jai Sheelal:

Race: Kaleesh
Gender: Male.
Age: Spans from five to late twenties over course of story.
Mother: Kata Saj Morjo
Father: Qymaen jai Sheelal
Build: Small, scawny due to premature birth.
Eye colour: Golden 
Hair: Black, very curly and springy.
Features: Sharp cheek bones, high forehead, less defined chin.
Notable: One cheek bone appears sharper than the other on one side; his hair is very thick and wild especially in later years. He has a large incisor tooth that is bigger that his other teeth, giving a crooked look to his mouth.

Personality:

Kilenko began as a silent, mute child with an enigmatic brain. Some questioned whether he had mental problems or difficulties as he failed to speak even into the age of five. However, all brain scans disproved these theories. Kilenko was a reserved, curious child that had a sharp intelligence coupled with innocence, an odd combination that confused many. The extent in which he understood his situations seemed to vary, but he was smarter than people gave him credit for.

Because of his quietness, many considered Kilenko a soft, and even weak, child with bad co-ordination when he lets his mind wander and agility. However, when he truly sets his mind into focus, Kilenko showed a great amount of skill in light-saber combat and acrobat moves involving force-aided attacks. These come in short bursts, and if Kilenko's focus as a child was not kept or he did not sense danger, he would be less formidable. Surprise was always on his side as no battle droids expected a tiny mute boy to attack their knees.

If his focus did not drive his attacks, anger would. Kilenko took a lot of insults seriously and never let a bad word against him go without being punished, though said punishment varied from a simple hateful glare to an elaborate prank, as he stole lightsabers from classmates and hid them after they insulted his species. Kilenko's quiet, piercing stare had been called unnerving by many, and Hondo the Pirate specifically called him the 'curly headed crazy' due to his instant mood changes at a simple word. 

When not armed with lightsabers Kilenko would claw hand and feet like an animal and use his fists; less effective but still painful. Viceroy Gunray learned this lesson the hard way.

As he grew into his pre-teens and adolescent years, Kilenko's almost sturdy nature became more complex, probably due to the fact he now realized his position as a Kaleesh Jedi, serving the people who once brought his kind misery. By this time he would have found himself alone after the destruction of them temple and exempting himself from Jedi ways; the uncertainty took a toll on his confidence. However, he never became too nervous to fight or defend himself. His rashness increased and though he regained self control as well as the ability to speak properly, Kilenko still had issues controlling his anger.

Aside from his esteemed temper and easily irritated nature, Kilenko was compassionate and kind to those he considered friends, and rather humerous on occasion. On occasion he could be sarcastic, and during his teens years his annoyance appeared almost always ,though deep down things did not bother him as much as he let on. 

Overall, Kilenko's personality slides between angry and irritable to kind and cheerful depending on who he was with exactly. 
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Your Rodent and That Tin Can by What-if-Writer
Your Rodent and That Tin Can
"Ti-in Can?!"

This is a semi-redo of this. Only there they seem to be in a better mood. <da:thumb id="398947129">

Thunderstick and Scuzz are from an old 80s cartoon, Bravestarr. They're a strange but hilarious dou. Initially this was a Thunderstick drawing, but I stuck Scuzz down there for the heck of it.
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So I passed my recent exam and I'm studying for another. I've been using a different technique of drawing as people have seen, and I've mentioned, but I noticed the outlines looked a little...not sharp. So I made the image for the robot one with Thunderstick much bigger, and I think I got much finer lines.

This year has sped by and I thought last year was fast. With exams, works and assignments and whatnot, the year went all too fast. It doesn't feel like a year, really.

Since I'm working on Lifeforce mostly, I'm afraid any new (and perhaps more interesting fanfics) are on a stand still, though I doubt people on this site will mind. Just a quick journal on what's going on, and to inform that since Christmas is approaching less stuff will be going up.

I did my firest Request not long ago, apparently it worked out well. 

:iconlaplz: 

:iconidontthinksobetchplz:

:iconthefonzplz: :icongoofygrinplz:

Ratchet and Clank Stamp by Ben-Anderson
.:Ratchet and Clank stamp 4:. by dannyphantom300
Land before time stamp by Sony-ShockStamp: Bravestarr by Gatekat Cragmite OC Support by WolfzenStamp - Dallas and Juanita by Lurking-Leanne
Cragmite Empire Stamp by HlTLER
Aaaahhh What by MiharuWatanabeI love ReBoot by thebadkittyCrash Bandicoot stamp by RobinBaxterButt


Dr. N. Tropy Stamp by xSweetSlayerxSly 4 stamp~ The Ancestors by SeeraphineClassic Spyro Stamp by RadSpyroN.Brio Stamp by angelblood

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:iconlombaxartist:
lombaxartist Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Happy  birthday!
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What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014
Thanks ^^
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:iconlombaxartist:
lombaxartist Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Your  very  welcome!
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DitaTheBulldog666 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 
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What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
Thanks you XD
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DitaTheBulldog666 Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2014
No problem!  
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110Gamergirl Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
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What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
Thanks :la:
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110Gamergirl Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
:happybounce: Huggle! 
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